Researchers have found that the effects of ocean warming may be more severe than we thought.
An international team led by the University of Adelaide found that the effect of warming threatens a massive 70% of the most biodiverse regions of our planet. The team compared past and future warming events to determine how far plants and animals needed to move to stay in appropriate climate conditions.
Commenting on the findings, the study’s lead author Dr. Stuart Brown said:
“Our research shows that locations with exceptionally high marine biodiversity are the most exposed to future oceanic warming, making them particularly vulnerable to 21st century climatic change…This is because species living in these biodiverse regions are generally ill-equipped to respond to large changes in temperature… In many cases this will require moving distances beyond the oceanic regions that these species evolved in and are adapted to, at rates of movement rarely seen for marine life.”
While Associate Professor Damien Fordham from the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute said:
“By showing that areas of high marine biodiversity are disproportionately exposed to future warming, our results provide important new information for deriving and strengthening conservation actions to safeguard marine biodiversity under climate change. While we have known for some years that recent human-induced climate change is affecting marine life through shifts in species distributions and abundances, the spatial pattern of exposure to past and future fast rates of ocean warming has been unclear.”
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